ಗಂಗೂಬಾಯಿ ಹಾನಗಲ್ - Gangubai Hangal

2/19/2009 03:06:00 PM / Posted by Namma Kannada Nadu /

Born on March 5th 1913 , Gangubai is a legend in her lifetime .Gangubai was born into a musical family in Dharwad. Her mother Ambabai is said to have taught the young Gangubai Carnatic music with a variety of Tyagaraja's compositions.This laid the foundation for her later prowess in swara singing. Soon she was listening to gramophone records of Hindustani music, particularly the popular Marathi "Natya Sangeet". Sensing her interest, her mother put her under a Hindustani music guru Krishnacharya Hulgur. She even learnt Kathak from Shamlal and Prataplal, the Jaipur brothers who were then in Hubli.

Nicknamed "gaanewali", she was ostracized by the orthodox brahmins. But her irrepressible talent brought her the respect, status and the financial security she has always craved. Fate had ordained her for music, She was 16 when put under Sawai Gandharva ( Pt. Rambhau Kundgolkar ) , a disciple of late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, after a typical ceremony gandhabandhan, at which 20 tolas of gold was given as gurudakshina.
Sawai Gandharva lived in the village of Kundgol near Hubli. Here Gangubai's talents were fine tuned. This was in the 1930s, when Gangubai , a young mother herself struggled to do her sadhana.
Her mother's death made her more determined to pursue a career in music and she gradually gained a footing in the right direction. Over time, she became a name to reckon with and went on to prove her might as a musician in many national festivals.
Her debut was at the Belgaum session of the Indian National Congress in 1924. But her concert career took off in 1933 in Bombay. Immediately noticed by HMV, she started cutting discs.
As one who knows both Hindustani and Carnatic music, she has said "The two systems have enjoyed peaceful co-existence without shedding their basic character and identity.
She has two sons and one daughter (late Smt.Krishna Hangal, eminent classical singer). Her eldest son Sri Baburao Hangal is actively involved in promotion of music and the fine arts in Karnataka and younger son Sri Narayan Hangal is retired Supurintendent Engineer. Gangubai's relationship with her husband Shri Gururao Kaulgi has played a very significant role in her life. He proposed a civil marriage to her, but she turned it down because "he belonged to a respectable family and she wanted him to continue to belong there." Gangubai insisted that he marry his cousin and in fact grew very fond of his wife and their children.
Her selfless devotion to him was never considered a sacrifice by her and even though he was a brahmin, a lawyer, it was ironically she who supported him throughout. He did not practise law and so whatever money she earned, she just placed before him. He invested in business but lost everything. Often he would disappear from home for months . The bank people would come and harass , ask for her property as she was unable to repay the loans. This happened several times. He died while she was performing in Bombay .

Padmavibhushan by Government of India presented by President of India Sri.K.R.Narayanan at Ashoka Hall, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi in the year 2002
Padmabhushan by Government of India Presented by President of India Sri V.V. Girei at Ashoka Hall, Rashrapati Bhavan New Delhi in the year 1971.
Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award by Government of Karnataka, presented by Chief Minister Sri Veerendra Patil at Bangalore in the year 1962.
Central Sangeet Natak Academy award presented by Sri P.L. Deshpande, Renowned marathi Writer at New Delhi in the year 1973.
50 years of All India Radio Broadcasting in India 1927-77 Award conferred by Prime Minister of India Sri Morarji Desai at Bombay.
Receipeent of Tansen Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh, presented by Chief Minister Sri Arjun Singh at Gwalior.
Roohe Ghazal Begum Akhtar Award in memory of Ghazal Queen Begum Akhtar by Rajamata Smt Vijaya Raje Sindhia in the year 1987.
Bhuwalka Award by Sri Jyothi Basu Chief Minister of West Bengal in the year 1990.
Hafizalikhan Award by Hafizalikhan Memorial Society, New Delhi.
Kanak Purandar Award by Government of Karnataka by Chief Minister Sri Veerappa Moily at Hubli in the year 1992.
ITC Sangeet Academy Award by ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta in the year 1992. Dinanath Mangeshkar award by Dinanath Mangeshkar Prathisthan presented by Ms lata mangeshkar in memory of her father at Nagpur in the year 1998.
Aditya Vikaram Birla Kalahikhar Puraskar by Vilasrao Deshmukh Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Sri Shivkumar Sharma at Mumbai in the year 2005.
Indian Music award by Shri A.P.J Abdul Kalam President of India at Mumbai in the year 2006.
Lifetime achievement award by Consulate General of Kingdom of Netherlands in the year 2009 and many more awards..
Doctorate from Karnataka University Dharwad in the year 1976.
Doctorate from Gulbarga University, Gulbarga conferred by Shri P.Venkatasubbayya, Governor of Karnataka.
Doctorate from Hampi Kannada Universities conferred by Honorable Prime Minister Sri H.D.Devegowda in the year 1995.
Doctorate from Delhi University, Delhi in the year 1998.

A purist and a traditionalist, Gangubai has always believed in the classical tradition of music. But she has never denied the usefulness of adaptation to changing times. She has never believed in image building at the cost of honest music. In the shadow of this wave of appreciation, she remained a simple woman, wearing a nine-yard Poona cotton sari at home, doing her riaz (practice) and treating us to several impromptu sessions of soulful music.

Her grandson Manoj Hangal converted her house in Dharwar into a museum. It was inaugurated on March 13th 2005. Manoj said that the museum has been set up with awards and honours received by his grandmother in her long and illustrious career.
Also on view at the museum are rare photographs of musicians of yesteryear and gramophone records of vintage value. The maintenance of this home is with Hangal Music Foundation. However, the ownership of this museum remains with the Karnataka State Government. This is probably for the first time in India that the home of a great personality has been converted into a museum during his or her lifetime.

Highlights :

Dr.Gangubai Hangal has the rare distinction of having sung before Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
She has been awarded by nine Prime Ministers.
She has sung for Marathi Film Vijachi lagan.
She has traveled to 13 countries.
One of the few and rare exponent of Kirana Gharana which was only limited to males.
Her first commercial disc was released by HMV Mumbai in 1932 & her first live programme in All India Radio was in Mumbai in the year 1933.
At the age of 94 years, she sung in a concert organized by Academy Performing Arts of Belgaum on 12th March, 2006.
She has served as a Chairman of Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy from 1982 to 1984.
She has served as a senate member of Karnataka University for 6 years.
Her education was only upto 5th standard, yet she has worked as Honorary Professor Music, Karnataka University, Dharwad.
In recognition of her services in the field of music the Government of Karnataka nominated her as a Member of Legislative Council(MLC) for 6 years.
Gangubai is a legend in her lifetime. A woman of extraordinary talent and courage, she has kept her position in the male dominated world of vocal music right through a whole century...

Its been very sad to know that Doyen of Hindustani vocal music Gangubai Hangal passed away on 21st July 2009 @7.10am ..
Although Gangubai was old and infirm, she was a source of inspiration to everyone and now Gangubai Hangal Music Museum and Gangubai Hangal Sangeetha Vidyalaya will keep her alive in people's minds. According to the family her granddaughters-in-law Veena and Archana will carry forward the legacy .The chief minister of Karnataka has promised tobuild a music school in her name and install her statue in Hubli as well as Bangalore. The most meaningful tribute we pay to her is to promote music, as she wished. May her soul rest in peace.

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